“See that bumper sticker?” said Dan Camilli, pointing to a torn and curled piece of paper on his car. “It said, ‘If you’re not first, you’re last.’”
The paper was stuck to the bumper of a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu which had been used in the Will Ferrell film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”
The Fallbrook concrete contractor purchased this car, which is painted with number “13” on the sides, and its “twin” about six months ago from Sony Pictures. A certificate of authentication verified the purchase.
Camilli used his own truck to tow both cars from Los Angeles and got plenty of honks and waves when he was driving back to Fallbrook. He said that neither car would start at first but they both roared to life after he worked on them “a little bit.”
“Talladega Nights” is a racy comedy about a fictional NASCAR driver, Ricky Bobby.
At one point in the film one of the Malibus crashes into a house when Ricky Bobby (portrayed by Ferrell) is driving blindfolded in order to drive like a racer.
“You can’t drive with your eyes; you gotta feel the road,” he is told by his father.
The car ricochets off other vehicles in a narrow street and finally crashes into someone’s living room.
Camilli pointed out the sticker on the frame of one of the cars, which read: “TO BE CRASHED.”
Camilli said that there were actually three of the number “13” cars used for filming and two were crashed. “They did the crash scene in the house twice,” he commented.
One of the cars had teeth marks on it from a cougar when, during his driver training, Ricky Bobby is told he has to “drive with the fear” and finds a cougar as his co-pilot.
When Camilli had the car restored he asked that the cougar teeth marks be left in, but somehow the request went unheeded.
Camilli had one of the Malibus restored and one is still in its wrecked condition. The unrestored vehicle still has tow bars on the front for mounted cameras. He also found an extra set of tires and a camera mount in the backseat area.
The two vehicles are virtually identical except one has a 350 engine and one is equipped with a 307. Under the hood, engine parts are bolted down and welded to make the engine secure for crash scenes.
It took Camilli about four months to restore the one vehicle. “I didn’t change anything because it loses its value if you do,” he noted.
He is now contemplating the restoration of the second Malibu, but, he commented, “Some people think I should leave it with the dents in it.”
Camilli has been interested in cars since he was a child. He has always liked “Chevys” and drove one in high school.
During the Fallbrook fire evacuation Camilli drove his restored Malibu to the middle of a field near a pond and left it there, since the shop where he keeps his cars was “right in the path of the fire.” Both cars and the shop survived the fire.
Camilli hopes his next “Talladega Nights” purchase will be the “Wonder Bread” jacket worn by Ferrell as Ricky Bobby, but until then he will drive his gleaming number “13” car around town and work on pounding out the dents on its “twin.”